How eCommerce Brands Can Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience

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Apr 04, 2023

How eCommerce Brands Can Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience

From a consumer’s perspective, today’s quality delivery experience is defined by the package being delivered to the right place at the right time. Consumers also expect delivery notifications and visual proof of delivery. But that is not all. In the event that something does go wrong, consumers want to know how you’re going to fix it, and they want to know right now.

There’s a lot that goes into creating that type of customer experience. From the perspective of the driver, carrier, and shipper, many elements define a quality delivery experience. Here are our top seven ways eCommerce brands can ensure a quality delivery experience for their customers. 

1. Thoughtful, Conscientious Drivers 

Good drivers can make or break a delivery experience. And this is why we say a delivery ninja is necessary to ensure a successful and non-intrusive delivery. While we do not hire literal ninjas to deliver our packages, some characteristics that good drivers display are ninja-like. 

Not convinced? Hear it in the words of a driver what they do day in and day out to create a quality delivery experience for customers: 

Stealthy Drivers

“A customer should not hear me arrive at the door. They should not hear that box drop at the door.”

Adaptable Drivers

“At the front door is always the default, but there may be cases where a package shouldn’t be exposed to the street – that’s a judgment call. Always make sure it’s in a safe place, that it’s visible to the customer and easy for them to find.”

Agile Drivers

“Sometimes what you’re expecting is not what you get… Like, you get to a drop, and the building code doesn’t work. There are some tricks you can try to get around that.”

Focused Drivers 

“If it were my package, I would want the carrier to do everything in their power to make the delivery, not just give up.”

Drivers Skilled in Communication

“Notify the customer the package has arrived and provide a photo, so they know where to find it.”

Routing is dynamic based on daily volume and density. Drivers choose which routes they’ll drive based on availability, earnings potential, delivery windows, and personal preference. When the driver decides their route upfront, they’re more engaged. They’re more likely to make the extra effort in hard-to-deliver locations. When drivers can choose where and when they drive, they’re happier, which helps with driver retention. It’s like Ben and Jerry’s, where “Happy cows make good ice cream.” Happy drivers make better deliveries.



2. Eliminate Drama with the Right Operational Processes and Technology in Place for a Quality Delivery Experience

The driver focuses on getting the right package to the right place at the right time. The carrier focuses on consistently repeating that outcome thousands of times each day with as little “drama” as possible.

There are two critical elements to producing that consistency. The first is having the right operational processes and technology in place to put the correct number of drivers in the right type of vehicles with optimized capacity and routing each day. A carrier needs repeatable processes that set drivers up for success each day and predictive analytics that identify potential snags before they occur. It’s not quite rocket science, but it’s close.

Once the driver is in the field, brands need coordination and communication between the driver, dispatch, the shipper, and the customer. Real-time communication directly with the customer or shipper can help sort out problems like access codes or wrong addresses that would typically result in a missed delivery. It can also go a long way towards undoing any potential reputational damage to your brand through a missed delivery. And communicating directly with the customer can add a personal touch to your brand that consumers—especially millennials—are always looking for. 

3. Extending Brands to the Customer’s Doorstep Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience

As an e-commerce retailer, your last-mile partner extends your brand directly to the consumer’s doorstep. The delivery box or polybag has your name on it. Your top priority is accurate and on-time delivery—the right package to the right door at the right time—and you have metrics in place to measure that. Keeping errors low and on-time delivery high is key to providing full value for your customer. But you also have other concerns that affect your and your customers’ perception of a quality delivery experience.

4. Tracking Transparency and Real-Time Updates

ECommerce brands need to know what is happening with today’s packages in real-time. Does a carrier’s operational platform give you enough visibility to see where packages are at any time? Do you have enough visibility into the steps to resolve any exceptions?

5. Delivery as a Brand Experience

There is a direct correlation between delivery experience and internal metrics like net promoter score (NPS) and retention. The flexibility of last-mile logistics partners can allow you to personalize the delivery experience and inspire brand loyalty. Was the delivery experience hassle-free for your customer? Did the driver follow special instructions? Did the driver communicate the correct information to your customer?

6. Risk Mitigation for Shipping Peaks and Valleys

You may not want to put all your eggs in one basket with one shipper. For example, can your carrier handle flexing capacities to support a carrier diversification strategy? Can they consistently move your inventory fast enough? Can they quickly scale for peak season, consumption spikes and dips, and longer-term top-line growth?

7. Flexibility to Adapt to Changing Expectations to Ensure a Quality Delivery Experience

Your carrier should be flexible enough to adapt to your processes. It would help if you didn’t have to adjust to theirs. Ask yourself, “Does my carrier’s technology give us more flexibility or less?”

How well does your carrier accommodate your needs in processes, APIs, etc.? For example, can they support your preferred solution for dealing with exceptions/returns (single or multiple retries, interact with customer service, return to sender, etc.)? Are delivery systems flexible enough to support re-routing in real-time (“Can you deliver this to my office instead of my home?”)? Getting these things right can help you delight your customers and keep you out of the hot seat with your internal stakeholders. 

One more thing about a quality delivery experience—it’s a moving target. As shippers and carriers extend capabilities and provide higher service levels, those will quickly become the new normal, the new class of consumer expectations.